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Rupert Wyman 28th Sep 2010 - 8:46

United to suffer pain in Spain

United face their toughest test of the season so far when they face a Valencia side who sit proudly at the top of La Liga.

The Red Devils are 7/4 to get a much needed win after dropping two points in game week one.

The Spanish side managed by Unai Emery have 13 points from five games in their domestic league, even more impressive considering three of those games have been away from home. They welcome United to The Mestella Stadium full of confidence and a home win could be on the cards. You can get 17/10 on a Valencia win and I think that will prove generous.

The Red Devils have conceded seven goals in three games away from home this season against Fulham, Everton and Bolton and that will give Alex Ferguson major cause for concern. Valencia should pose more attacking threat than those sides and have only conceded three goals in six games so won't be easy to breakdown.

Valencia are a genuine giant of Spanish football and will be backed by a 55,000 capacity crowd at the Estadio Mestalla on Wednesday night. The club is moving in the direction to mount a serious long term challenge to Barca and Real Madrid as they are due to move into the new 75,000-seater stadium in the north-west of the city in 2011.

The Blanquinegros currently have more than 50,000 season ticket holders with 20,000 more on the waiting list and could become a force to be reckoned with both domestically and in Europe for many years to come.

They had a successful start to their Champions League campaign in match day one, negotiating a potential banana skin in Turkey with a comprehensive 4-0 away win at Bursaspor.  There were four different scorers for the visitors that night with Aritz Aduriz netting, he is 5/1 to score first in this one. Another 4-0 victory for them is 66/1.

They have never won this competition but were runners up in consecutive seasons back in 2000 and 2001.  They took the lead in the race for this year's La Liga title winning 2-0 against Sporting Gijon on Saturday. Mehmet Topal headed in a corner on seven minutes to put Valencia in front at Sporting and three minutes later Roberto Soldado turned in a Juan Mata cross. If you fancy them to beat United by the same scoreline you can get 12/1.

United will be without Wayne Rooney who has not travelled to the game due to injury meaning they will be relying heavily on Berbatov to provide the goal threat. The Bulgarian is enjoying his best spell at United since joining from Spurs and could have finally won the fans over after his hat-trick against bitter rivals Liverpool. He is 5/1 to score first and 33/1 to score another hat-trick.

These two sides met in the group stages back in 2000, both games ending 0-0. United have also had goalless draw with Barcelona and Villareal in recent years when travelling to Spain. If you fancy a repeat of that scoreline you can back it at 17/2 with William Hill. The draw is 2/1.

It's difficult to predict how Ferguson will approach this but he is likely to take a cautious stance and play just one striker. However, if he is tempted to play two up front he will need to choose between Mexican wonder-kid Hernandez or Michael Owen. Owen came off the bench to rescue a point at Bolton on Sunday so he may go with the ex-England man. He is 13/2 to score first. As always if you back a player to score first and he doesn't take part in the game or comes on after the first goal you get your stake back.

Fergie has done his homework for the match. He missed a senior game for only the third time since he took over back in November 1986 when missing the Carling Cup victory at Scunthorpe to make a scouting trip to Spain last Wednesday. He watched Valencia draw with Athletico Madrid.

He is likely to be rueing resting players against Rangers in game week one, dropping two points in a 0-0 draw, especially if they fail to get a good result here. The pressure is on United and I think they will fall to a rare group stage defeat.

On current form you have to expect to Valencia score and that will make it an uphill task for United to get a victory. I would go for a Valencia win at 17/10 and a scoreline of 2-1 at odds of 9/1. Throw in over 2.5 goals at 11/10.

Those looking for a bigger price can get on Valencia to being winning and half time and full time in our double result market at 100/30.

 
 
 

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